Food writer Élodie Nöel is whetting our appetites for some new openings across the country.
The end of the summer is all about new beginnings, fresh school uniforms and good resolutions. It’s also a great time to open a new restaurant or café, and the country has plenty of new options for you to try, with cocktails, small plates and fire cooking firmly standing as the leading trends of the moment.
In the capital, Dublin 8 can claim the title of the most exciting place, with its recent move towards gentrification bringing a new customer base, with want and money for good food. The once-gritty streets of the central district are now (or soon to be) home to many charming cafés and ambitious restaurants.
According to the following list, Italian food, seafood and steak form the winning trio of most sought-after food, while provenance and a firm focus on local ingredients take up centre stage - a trend we can only hope will keep growing.
Another contestant in the super trendy small plates game, Le Perroquet just opened its doors a couple of doors down from Forest & Marcy. This new cocktail bar offers a fusion of Irish and French-inspired cooking, with exciting dishes such as rice cracker, oyster, mussel and chicken skin, duck croquette with scallion mayonnaise, beef tartar with sheep’s cheese, or a savoury French toast with parmesan and shallot.
Address: 133 Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4.
The team behind Featherblade have opened a new eatery where diners will be able to enjoy meat and vegetables cooked over the fire. Behind the stove is ex-Richmond Dan Hannigan, finalist of the Eurotoques Young Chef of the Year 2019 competition and founder of Food For Thought charity events. On the menu, the nibbles (lamb skewer three-ways; courgette and black garlic yoghurt; smoked chicken and romanesco) are followed by smoked and grilled mains (carrot, freekah and salsa verde; whole brill and langoustine; marinated pork tomahawk), with ingredients coming from trusted suppliers (Andari Farm, Sustainable Seafood Ireland, Olly’s Farm). For dessert, the bubble pudding with salted caramel ticks all the boxes of indulgence.
“We are using the best Irish produce we can find and doing them justice over fire, like Castlemine farm lamb and Wagyu beef from Twomeys in Cork - both of whom we have visited along with many other producers so we can ensure they are responsibly producing and also to create really good relationships with our suppliers”, Dan Hannigan says.
“We use fire and smoke in different ways like cold smoking crème fraîche using lemon wood to pair with our mackerel nibble.” The founder of Food For Thought, Dan wants to make sure his team works in the best conditions: “We are putting huge emphasis on looking after staff and providing a really positive working environment to ensure everyone is happy.”
Address: 32 Camden Street Lower, Dublin 2.
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We are finally open to the public. Thank you so much for all the support and we can’t wait to feed you! Expect the best produce you can find and hopefully we can do it justice over fire. Our first nibble from a paying customer was this citrus cured mackerel form @ssi_wholesale which got a little lemon wood hot box. It brought a few tears which were claimed to be sweat but they were definitely baby tear. #livefire #lemonwood
Owned by restaurateur Eoin Foyle, Daphne’s just opened in the heart of Rialto. A village that is beautifully quaint but has up until now only been home to two worthy food establishments: Ennis Butchers and The Bakery by The Cupcake Bloke.
The short yet appealing menu of this new Italian bistro features classics like spaghetti bolognese and lasagna, or linguine with prawns and orecchiette with 'nduja, served with a nice selection of wine or craft beers from neighbour breweries Rascals and Dot brew. The pizzas are named after Dublin districts, including the Harold’s X with a garlic herb base, buffalo mozzarella, goat’s cheese and spinach, or the Portobello, with tomato, mozzarella, wild mushrooms and pancetta.
Address: 562 South Circular Rd, Dublin 8.
Dublin 8 is soon to become the new Mecca of cool little cafés in Dublin, adding to a list which already includes Two Pups, Legit, Liberty Kitchen and Union 8. Its newest member, Coffee District, is a small shop located on James’s Street, a stone’s throw away from the St. James’s Hospital Luas stop. The team aims to serve great speciality coffee and delicious food made fresh daily, including pastries, salads and sandwiches.
Address: James's Street, Dublin 8.
The newest addition to the Dún Laoghaire food scene, Casper & Giumbinis specialises in steak and seafood. Owned by siblings Kim and David O’Driscoll, this new brasserie is the sister restaurant of DeVille’s bistro in Dalkey. The food offer includes a selection of appetisers to share, such as Carlingford oysters, Dublin Bay prawns, or chicken wings, with mains such as steak frites, fish and chips, and dry aged steaks. On the drinks menu, signature cocktails will feature alongside a wine list focusing on biodynamic, sustainable and low intervention winemaking.
Address: Pavillion Complex, Unit 8, Marine Rd, Dún Laoghaire.
After sadly having to close The Fat Fox Camden Row last September, the team behind the cool little Dublin 8 café had been struggling to find new premises to keep the coffee brewing. For anyone who follows them on Instagram, you will feel, like us, that we've all been in this journey with them as they have kept us up-to-date on the highs and lows over the past year. True spirit and hard work have kept their dream alive and we're delighted to hear that the new place should be ready to open very soon! But in the meantime, they have invested in an old 1950s petrol station in Delgany and using it as a coffee drive-thru. How cool is that? Worth the drive, we feel.
Address: Delgany, Co. Wicklow.
Replacing long-time favourite Campo De Fiori, which closed a few months ago, Ripasso is Bray’s new Italian restaurant and wine bar, owned by Gabriele Recchia, previously of Locks. The menu was created in the hope to “bring the best of Italian flavours together with the best of Irish produce to create a memorable culinary experience”, says the owner and manager. Expect the usual culprits: antipasti, pizza, pasta such as Paccheri with Dublin Bay prawns and stracciatella cheese, as well as more elaborate mains like a Sliced Angus striploin steak with marinated cabbage and parmesan, slow-braised beef cheek with truffle potato purée and mushrooms and a Catch of the day.
Address: 1 Albert Avenue, Bray.
The latest addition to the Oliver Dunne Restaurant Group, the Beef & Lobster is now open in the Galway city centre. After Temple Bar and Malahide, this is the restaurateur’s first venture outside the capital. Specialising in dry aged steak cuts, Irish lobster and shellfish, the new eatery also offers the famous ‘Bottomless Brunch’ option, with unlimited bellinis and mimosas every Friday, Saturday, and Sundays for two hours per sitting. “We’ve had such great success with Beef & Lobster in both our Dublin locations and we’re confident that the people of Galway are going to love it just as much. Galway is a wonderful city and it was the obvious choice for our first restaurant outside of Dublin and I really look forward to spending more time here”, Oliver Dunne said.
Address: 14 Williamsgate Street, Galway.
Opening late October
A casual wine bar with food, Allta will offer the ever-so-popular sharing plates, alongside charcuterie and pasta. The focus will be on sustainable Irish ingredients, with pasta made with heritage Irish grains, homemade butter, handmade charcuterie, or handmade ice-cream. With ex-Nuala Niall Davidson, and ex-Luna Hugh Higgins cheffing, we can expect great things coming from this kitchen! We wait with bated breath...
Address: on the corner of South Frederick Street and Setanta Place, Dublin 2.
Opening end of September
A new wine bar from John Farrell, owner of 777 and sorely missed Luna, is set to open by the end of the month. According to the restaurateur, the menu will be contemporary, made of small dishes with a focus on simplicity and fresh Irish provenance. The kitchen will be led by Essa Fakhry, already at the helm of 777.
“Named as a homage to a very public declaration of love, Amy Austin is all about our love of enjoying great wine and food in a convivial setting”, said John Farrell. “The modest space boasts a vibrant décor, wide-ranging wines on tap, by glass, bottle and carafe, with an eclectic menu of boards and small plates based on simple Irish ingredients.”
Address: Drury Street, Dublin 2.
Opening September 25th
The Mercantile Group (Nolita, Opium, Café en Seine) is adding a new bar to its portfolio. Located on Camden Row, this new venue aims to recreate a classic Irish pub with cosy snugs. Alongside pints of the black stuff and craft beers, the cocktail list is inspired by old Irish slang, with drinks such as in the Aul' Fella, a whiskey cocktail mix with Werther’s Originals or Away With The Fairies, a vodka blend with TK Lemonade. The food offer will include a lunch menu and evening bites.
Address: 37-38 Camden Row, Dublin 2.
Opening September 19th
Dublin 8 is getting a new exciting addition to its buzzing pub and dining scene. Located in the walls of Shanahan’s pub, Spitalfields is the latest venture of chef Stephen McAllister, already co-owner with his wife Andrea of The Pig’s Ear, with ex-Luna manager Declan Maxwell leading the team on the floor. Staying true to the building’s history, the downstairs area will remain a bar/restaurant while the upstairs will be fully seated.
Described as a contemporary European dining experience, Mamó is the first restaurant by ex-Etto staff member Jess D’Arcy and ex-Chapter One chef Killian Durkin. As you could hope from a restaurant located in a fishing harbour, seafood will be the focal point of Mamo. Pasta and locally foraged food will also be on the menu.
Address: Harbour House, Harbour Road, Howth.
Opening September 29th
Named after the latin word for wood, this new restaurant nestled in Bullaun, Galway, will focus on wood fire cooking. A team of international talents, including Pastry Chef and Eurotoques Young Chef of the Year finalist Gráinne Mullins, will work with the best local produce and ingredients found in the direct vicinity of the restaurant. “Lignum's inspiration is driven by our surroundings”, Chef Daniel Africano explains. “We are located in rural East Galway, immersed in nature, close to the Atlantic Ocean and numerous forests where the kitchen team forage and draw inspiration.”
“Wood is the fuel of our kitchen. We have a purpose-built wood-burning oven and custom-made Ox grills. Our principle is to cook over robust burning embers using a variety of Irish wood and from this simplistic method of cooking elevate it to a refined plate.”
Customers will be able to choose from a three, five, or seven-course tasting menu, with wine and or alcoholic pairings, available Thursday evening to Saturday evening. “On Sunday our intention is to serve a more casual experience, a sharing style menu”, Daniel says.
With a mixologist working closely with the kitchen team, Lignum will also offer an urban style cocktail list in the countryside. “This menu will change with the seasons creating bitters, tonics and drinks inspired by our surroundings.”
Address: Slatefort House, Bullaun, Galway.
Opening late September
Chef Tom Walsh has taken over a former 19th-century bank in Dungarvan, built in 1860 as a town hall, to turn it into a unique restaurant space. “We have an Italian restaurant on the ground floor, with 64 seats along with a cocktail bar and outside terrace”, says the chef. For the upstairs area, it will host a modern Irish fine dining restaurant, with approximately 50 seats.
Address: Bridge House, Abbeyside, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
STILL IN THE PIPELINE
Little Forest, Sandy and John Wyer’s third restaurant, has yet to get an opening date in Blackrock, following issues with construction. We are still very excited!
Author: Élodie Noël
Élodie is a French journalist who relocated to Dublin about three years ago. She immediately fell in love with the island and its amazing food and has been writing about it on her blog Lemon Lipstick. You can follow Élodie's food adventures on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.